Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 468-540; doi:10.3390/nano5020468 (registering DOI) - published 1 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The present Review addresses current developments related to polymer-derived ceramic nanocomposites (PDC-NCs). Different classes of preceramic polymers are briefly introduced and their conversion into ceramic materials with adjustable phase compositions and microstructures is presented. Emphasis is set on discussing the intimate relationship between the chemistry and structural architecture of the precursor and the structural features and properties of the resulting ceramic nanocomposites. Various structural and functional properties of silicon-containing ceramic nanocomposites as well as different preparative strategies to achieve nano-scaled PDC-NC-based ordered structures are highlighted, based on selected ceramic nanocomposite systems. Furthermore, prospective applications of the PDC-NCs such as high-temperature stable materials for thermal protection systems, membranes for hot gas separation purposes, materials for heterogeneous catalysis, nano-confinement materials for hydrogen storage applications as well as anode materials for secondary ion batteries are introduced and discussed in detail.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 436-467; doi:10.3390/nano5020436 - published 27 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been widely used in industry due to their unique physical and chemical properties. However, AgNPs have caused environmental concerns. To understand the risks of AgNPs, Arabidopsis microarray data for AgNP, Ag+, cold, salt, heat and drought stresses were analyzed. Up- and down-regulated genes of more than two-fold expression change were compared, while the encoded proteins of shared and unique genes between stresses were subjected to differential enrichment analyses. AgNPs affected the fewest genes (575) in the Arabidopsis genome, followed by Ag+ (1010), heat (1374), drought (1435), salt (4133) and cold (6536). More genes were up-regulated than down-regulated in AgNPs and Ag+ (438 and 780, respectively) while cold down-regulated the most genes (4022). Responses to AgNPs were more similar to those of Ag+ (464 shared genes), cold (202), and salt (163) than to drought (50) or heat (30); the genes in the first four stresses were enriched with 32 PFAM domains and 44 InterPro protein classes. Moreover, 111 genes were unique in AgNPs and they were enriched in three biological functions: response to fungal infection, anion transport, and cell wall/plasma membrane related. Despite shared similarity to Ag+, cold and salt stresses, AgNPs are a new stressor to Arabidopsis.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 425-435; doi:10.3390/nano5020425 - published 27 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A simple one-pot synthesis of well-defined PS-silazane nano-composites (polystyrene, PS) is described. In contrast to the, thus far, used two-step procedure ((1) assembly of a PS template bed and (2) careful filling of the voids between the PS spheres), which is restricted to macro structuring, we are able to simply mix the PS template and a commercially available silazane precursor HTT-1800 in toluene. The key is the alteration of the zeta potential of the PS template leading to a homogeneous dispersion in the silazane-toluene mixture. Removal of solvent gives rise to a highly ordered PS-silazane nano-composites and subsequent pyrolysis leads to mesoporous silicon carbonitride (SiCN) materials. The one-pot procedure has two advantages: easy upscaling and the use of PS spheres smaller than 100 nm in diameter, here 60 nm. The PS template was characterized by photon correlation spectroscopy, zeta potential measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The resulting mesoporous SiCN materials were analyzed by SEM, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nitrogen sorption analysis, and Fourier transform infrared measurements (FT-IR).
Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 415-424; doi:10.3390/nano5020415 - published 25 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Scaffolds providing a 3D environment which can effectively promote the adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of cells are crucial to tissue regeneration. In this study, the poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) scaffold with hierarchical pore structural was fabricated via two-step thermally induced phase separation (TIPS). To mimic both physical architecture and chemical composite of natural bone extracellular matrix (ECM), gelatin fibers were introduced into the pores of PLLA scaffolds and formed 3D network structure via TIPS. Human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were harvested and seeded into PLLA/gel hybrid scaffolds and cultured in vitro for biocompatibility assay. The surface morphology, porosity and compressive modulus of scaffolds were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), density analysis and compression test respectively. The results showed that hybrid scaffolds had high porosity (91.62%), a good compressive modulus (2.79 ± 0.20 MPa), nanometer fibers (diameter around 186.39~354.30 nm) and different grades of pore size from 7.41 ± 2.64 nm to 387.94 ± 102.48 nm. The scaffolds with mild hydrolysis by NaOH were modified by 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl ami-nopropyl) carbodiimide/N-hydroxysuccinimide (EDC/NHS). Gelatin was performed onto PLLA scaffold via TIPS aiming at enhancement cell-material interaction. In comparison with PLLA scaffold, the PLLA/gel scaffold had better biological performance and the mechanical properties because the gelatin fibers homogeneously distributed in each pore of PLLA scaffold and formed 3D network structure.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 398-414; doi:10.3390/nano5020398 - published 25 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, we report separator membranes from crosslinking of two polymers, such as poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) with an ionic polymer poly(methyl vinyl ether-alt-maleic anhydride) (PMVE-MA). Such interpolymer-networked systems were extensively used for biomedical and desalination applications but they were not examined for their potential use as membranes or separators for batteries. Therefore, the chemical interactions between these two polymers and the influence of such crosslinking on physicochemical properties of the membrane are systematically investigated through rheology and by critical gel point study. The hydrogen bonding and the chemical interaction between PMVE-MA and PVA resulted in highly cross-linked membranes. Effect of the molecular weight of PVA on the membrane properties was also examined. The developed membranes were extensively characterized by studying their physicochemical properties (water uptake, swelling ratio, and conductivity), thermal and electrochemical properties using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).The DSC study shows the presence of a single Tg in the membranes indicating compatibility of the two polymers in flexible and transparent films. The membranes show good stability and ion conductivity suitable for separator applications.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(2), 386-397; doi:10.3390/nano5020386 - published 24 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Silver (Ag) nanoparticle-loaded strontium titanate (SrTiO3) nanoparticles were attempted to be synthesized by a sol-gel-hydrothermal method. We prepared the titanium oxide precursor gels incorporated with Ag+ and Sr2+ ions with various molar ratios, and they were successfully converted into the Ag-SrTiO3 hybrid nanoparticles by the hydrothermal treatment at 230 °C in strontium hydroxide aqueous solutions. The morphology of the SrTiO3 nanoparticles is dendritic in the presence and absence of Ag+ ions. The precursor gels, which act as the high reactive precursor, give rise to high nucleation and growth rates under the hydrothermal conditions, and the resultant diffusion-limited aggregation phenomena facilitate the dendritic growth of SrTiO3. From the field-emission transmission electron microscope observation of these Ag-SrTiO3 hybrid nanoparticles, the Ag nanoparticles with a size of a few tens of nanometers are distributed without severe agglomeration, owing to the competitive formation reactions of Ag and SrTiO3.